#VAGASwithDegrees Week 1

@HerVAGAboundRoots presents #VAGASwithDegrees Week 1!

"I never really thought I'd be in the position I am in today: graduated and employed by the firm I've dreamed of working at since I was 17 years old. I pursued an accounting degree knowing that it would require a lot of effort and sacrifice. I was right; the past four years were countless hours of studying, persistence, and a compromised social life. Accounting is not an easy degree to achieve to say the least but I wanted to make both my parents and myself proud. I wanted to show my parents that everything they gave up and all their struggles were well worth it. Additionally I wanted to inspire my younger sister. I dedicate my diploma to them. However, I also wanted to prove to myself that I am capable of what I put my mind to and that a daughter of immigrant parents is both deserving of and capable of success in every form of its definition. Choosing to go into the corporate sphere will be challenging not only because I am a female but because I am a LATINA female. Nonetheless I remain as motivated as ever thanks to my family, my roots, and my dreams. I hope to bring diversity to my career field as well as learn as much as I can along the way. This is only the beginning!"

-Ana Patiño

Bachelors of Science in Accounting

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles


"I'm originally a California native but moved to the east coast after visiting NYC in 2013. I fell in love with the diversity, hustle & bustle and new I wanted to return soon. 1 month after graduating undergrad, I moved to the city with one suitcase in hand. I worked as a teacher's assistant in the South Bronx with 8th graders. During my time as a TA, I saw many issues in the education system and low-income communities that were comparable to my experience growing up. Issues of education inequality, poverty, the prison to school pipeline, and many more. I wanted to study these issues more in depth and be qualified to address not only the mental health aspects but the larger systems of administration and policy that effect low income communities and communities of color. I enrolled in Social Work school uncertain of what I was going to learn but walked away with both the academic and personal tools to be an advocate in my community and workplace for social justice. My future goals post grad are to take a break before beginning this much needed work. I'll be traveling around Mexico and then returning to the states to work with court involved youth in the education system, with one day hopes of running my own social enterprise employing formerly incarcerated individuals."

-Jocelyn Janelle

Master of Science in Social Work

Human Services Management certificate

Columbia University School of Social Work


"Reminiscing on my 1st grade project, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I answered, "I want to be a nurse because I am good at putting BandAids."

Funny how six year old me set my life-long dream that day. It hasn't been as easy as patching on bandaids but after all the roads and it's challenges it presented along the way, I can't be anymore excited to accomplish this first (of many) milestone. I thought I had to have all my degrees lined up before I turned 25 years old but like my grandma says, "todo a su tiempo". At 23 years old I'm feeling blessed to have accomplished my first college degree(s) yet.

My mom has been a great inspiration and a huge influence in my life. A single mother, working two jobs, yet be present for every single one of my achievements and manage to still set goals and pursue them. She set the ultimate example of following dreams, even if it hurts or have the urge to give up, to truly persevere. I wouldn't have been able to achieve this without the support of my family. My success is their success. My achievements are their achievements.

It may have taken me a little longer than I had planned but I'm more motivated than ever to start working towards my BSN. God willing, I'll have a career as a pediatric nurse. I'm ready. I'm set!

A seguir luchando y logrando"

-Soraya Loera

A.A in Social and Behavioral Sciences

A.A Natural Sciences


"I came from England to pursue my masters degree at NYU two years ago. When I announced the move, some people thought I was brave, others tried to convince me not to go, but I just knew it was the right step for me at that phase of my life.

New York has been everything I thought it would be, yet everything else I hadn't yet imagined! The diversity here makes life so rich, and as a clinician I've been able to work with an eclectic mix of clients from all different walks of life.

I've learned so much about myself and grown in both my professional and personal life. But the friends I've made along the way are truly priceless additions to this journey.

Someone asked me recently what my profession (social work) means to me. My answer was this:

"To me, social work means listening and hearing more than just the silence, speaking up when nobody wants to say a word, and seeing in others what they fail to see in themselves."

... I really hope that I can stay true to that as my journey continues."

-Monique Mundle

Master of Social Work

New York University – Silver School of Social Work


"Ever since I can remember I've come to realize how hard life is and not only for me but also for those people around me. I was born and raised in Santiaguillo, Guanajuato Mexico at 11 years old my parents decided to leave everything behind for a better future. Through out my struggles from learning English, being the first one in my family to attend a four-year University being an AB540 student (undocumented student) for the first two years. I can finally say that because I remained as a resilient Mexicana. I have managed to be the first one in my family to earn a Masters Degree in Counseling Education. I remain motivated thanks to my family! Now that better future my parents wanted for me is waiting. Remember we do not get to decide how or when we are going to die. But we do get to decide how we get to live. Con ganas! Si se judo!"

-Carolina Mandujano

Masters in Counseling Education

San Jose State University


"I finally graduated, it has been a long journey but I made it! I graduated from California State University, Northridge with my B.A. in Sociology. This is only the beginning and my motivation throughout this whole process has been my family as I am the first one to ever graduate with a degree. My family has always pushed me to succeed in life and taught me that nothing can stand in the way of someone who is determined. I fell in love with my major in sociology as I love to help others and it has definitely become an eye opening experience. My future goals are to be part of a Latino non-profit organization in hopes to help families in need and give a hand to help their voice be heard. I will go on to receive Master’s degree and continue to make my family proud and prove to myself that anything is possible."

-Genesis Aguilar

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

California State University, Northridge


Check back for this weeks upcoming posts! Thank so much for all of your support thus far.



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